Hà Lệ Diễm’s Children of the Mist and Rémy Huberdeau and Sean Stiller’s Ojiibikaan were among the documentary projects to be awarded cash prizes at the 21st annual Hot Docs Forum.
The 27th annual Hot Docs Festival was originally scheduled to take place from April 30 to May 10 in Toronto, before the live event was cancelled amid public health and safety concerns related to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic.
The 22 project selections for the Hot Docs Forum were chosen from 463 submissions and represent 19 countries, with women making up 18 of the 27 directors, and 42 of the 60 producers associated with the films. Parts one and two of Realscreen‘s coverage of the Hot Docs Forum can be found here.
All pitches were eligible for the First Look Pitch Prize, the CA$10,000 Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize, and the Cuban Hat Award.
A total of CA$57,000 in cash prizes was awarded to Hot Docs Forum projects.
Diễm’s Children of the Mist was honored with the First Look Pitch Prize, which came with a CA$30,000 cash award. The Vietnamese project documents a teenage girl in the mountains of North Vietnam as she walks “a thin line” between childhood and adulthood.
The award’s second prize of CA$15,000 was handed out to Anjali Nayar and Mbithi Masya’s Just a Band (pictured). Produced by Roger Ross Williams, Ink & Pepper Productions and Afrobubblegum, the feature film serves as a coming-of-age story about four Nairobians who form an Afro-electric band during Kenya’s post-dictatorship art renaissance.
Honorary mention was provided to Giedrė Žickytė’s Masha. The film which received a CA$2,000 prize, reveals the legacy of Russia’s lost photographer, Masha Ivashintsova.
The First Look winners are voted on by the program’s participants. It is curated for”philanthropic supporters of, and investors in, documentary film.”
Elsewhere, Huberdeau and Stiller’s Ojiibikaan was awarded with the Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize. The Canadian documentary, which received a CA$10,000 prize, serves as a cinematic, character-driven feature that examines our relationship with the living world.
The Corus-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize is awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the forum as voted on by attending international buyers.
Prior to being pitched at the Hot Docs Forum, Ojiibikaan received a production grant through Hot Docs’ CrossCurrents Canada Fund, which supports a diversity of perspectives to “build a more representative and sustainable industry.”
“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s Hot Docs Forum and especially humbled by the spirit with which our community of filmmakers and decision makers united to make this event warm and engaging during these incredibly challenging times,” said Dorota Lech, Hot Docs industry programmer and Forum producer, in a statement.
The inaugural Hot Docs Al Jazeera Short Pitch, meanwhile, has awarded two pitches with full commissions and a total cash prizes of up to CA$140,000 (US$100,000).
The winning pitches were Erin Byrnes’ Six Mile and Woodward, in which trans women of color in Detroit confront widespread violence, and Cat Mills’ Illegal Billboards, about an anarchist-type who targets illegal billboards in Toronto.
The short prize was originally meant to support at least one winner with up to CA$70,000 (US$50,000) for a full commission.
Access to content in the online market continues for registered delegates until May 31, and curated one-on-one pitch meetings arranged through Hot Docs Deal Maker and Distribution Rendezvous programs continue throughout the month.
Launched on April 30 and running until May 31, the Hot Docs’ online market has seen 1,535 delegates participate.